Boston police shoot at South Boston man after he allegedly steals police cruiser, drives into officer

At least one Boston police officer shot at a South Boston man Saturday after he allegedly stole a marked police cruiser and struck an officer with the vehicle as he sped away, only to crash shortly afterwards near a Red Line station in Dorchester, Boston police said.

The incident began around 3:30 a.m. Saturday when patrol officers were sent to 97 Baxter St. to investigate reports that a car had been broken into in the South Boston neighborhood, police said. Officers spotted a suspect and pursued him on foot, but as they did, the man allegedly juimped into a cruiser and drove away.

Wilfredo Rodriguez (Boston police)

Officer Neva Coakley, a police spokeswoman, said she did not have any information on how the suspect managed to drive off in the police cruiser. Coakley said the man, identified by police as Wilfredo Rodriguez, hit a police officer with the cruiser as he tried to drive out of the neighborhood.

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At least one officer opened fire with their service weapon, Coakley said.

“Due to the imminent danger, at least one officer discharged multiple rounds from his service firearm,” she said in a statement.

Rodriguez, 37, was not struck by the officer’s gunfire, police said.

The officer whom Rodriguez allegedly drove the cruiser into, and another officer, were both taken to area hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

After the confrontation in South Boston, Rodriguez drove the car into Dorchester—pursued by police in other cruisers—where he crashed near the MBTA’s JFK/UMass Red Line station, police said. He was arrested after a second foot chase near the crashed cruiser, police said.

“There is extensive damage to the police cruiser,” said Coakley.

Rodriguez is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in South Boston Municipal Court on multiple charges, including assault and battery on a police officer, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and larceny of a motor vehicle.

About two hours later, Boston police were called to the Boston Medical Center after an Emergency Medical Services ambulance was reported stolen. The ambulance was recovered, unoccupied, later Saturday at 46 Westland Ave., Coakley said.

There are currently no suspects and the incident remains under investigation. Coakley said the stolen ambulance is unrelated to the stolen cruiser incident.

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